As mentioned in my previous entry my friends and I have been playing over the D&D Basic Starter Game. We did an encounter a weekend every other weekend and last weekend we came to the end of our Heroes first quest.
It's become a given that we're using the D&D Character Builder - Ben spends time at the end of each game updating everybodies gold and XP - and because we all only have the first PHB and DMG then in the Campaign Rules section he's unchecked everything else, meaning at this time we can only use races, classes, equipment, etc from those two books. Which is fine considering as we don't have any other literature we don't know the rules. Now, I know i have access to the Compendium but it seems a bit of a faff at times when we're in the heat of battle. So, it's books or nothing.
Whilst at work on my lunch I was reading up on Puzzles, and problem solving in the DMG and decided to throw my own puzzle into the mix. It was a simple acrostic on a piece of parchment the Heroes would find when they searched the last dungeon. I had already decided by this point that the person who had hired them on this quest would, in fact, be the bad guy. Effectively sending the Heroes to their death. So, my message a simple spanner in the works to get my Heroes thinking before they left the dungeon to investigate further.
I also had the big bad from that dungeon teleport away. Originally my plan was him to teleport/run away when he became bloodied, but the Half-Elf Fighter bull rushed him into the pit instead and so I decided then would be a dramatic point to have him vanish.
I slipped a hook into the story at this saying that Baron Stockmer had then disappeared along with the villain.
I had manipulated relationships in this story, too. Aunt Nonnie, of Aunt Nonnie's Inn, was courting the villain yet she had no idea of his nocturnal activities, and made out that she had followed him one evening, believing him to be having an affair. She'd caught him with a "dark man" and over heard Winterhaven and Shadowfell. This energized the Heroes into wanting to head to Winterhaven to see what they can find out!
I've already bought Keep on the Shadowfell and now Thunderspire Labyrinth to read through and see how they can be manipulated and twisted to fit my needs.
We kinda feel like the Basic Game was a test run for the characters and me as a DM and now we've got a basic grasp on the game we're all looking forward to the run into Keep on the Shadowfell!